Over the last hundred years, thousands of Americans have fought for justice, equality, and change for all citizens. Although it has only been sixty years since the major events of the Civil Rights Movement, many students are unaware of the seismic shifts that occurred during that era. Through the use of non-violent strategies such as protests, marches, boycotts, and sit-ins, Americans were able to begin a movement that still strongly reverberates in our world today. The following activities allow students to research and better understand the people, concepts, and ideas that stemmed from the Civil Rights Movement .
Following the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era, African Americans were free from slavery but still faced resistance from fellow Americans and at times, the government. Forced to live in a world that included segregation, Jim Crow laws, and an immeasurable level of bigotry and racism, African Americans were far from equal in regards to how society treated them.
This unit will help students better identify the challenges that African Americans faced throughout the last two hundred years and understand how countless Americans helped fight to create a country that provides “liberty and justice for all”. Students will face the evils of American history along with the brave individuals who stood up to racism and prejudice during a time when many Americans did not welcome equality and change. Students should be encouraged to reflect on how different the world was during this era, but also be aware of many of the challenges and obstacles that millions of Americans still face today.
With the activities in this lesson plan, students will research, define, and visualize the critical aspects of the Civil Rights Era. Students will examine the significant events, leaders, landmark Congressional decisions, and key vocabulary that defined this era. By the end of this unit, students will have a stronger understanding of the challenges that millions of Americans faced prior to this era and the brave sacrifices that were made to help progress civil rights for all Americans. Ultimately, they should understand the struggles, growth, and victories that were achieved along the long road towards civil rights.